Merck opens lab for local biopharm companies

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Merck opens lab for local biopharm companies

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Udit Batra, a member of the Merck executive board and CEO of the company’s life sciences business. [MERCK]

Merck, the German pharmaceutical giant, is opening a lab space for local biopharmaceutical companies called the M Lab Collaboration Center in Songdo, Incheon, to boost its life sciences business in Korea.

“The center allows local pharmaceutical manufacturers to explore new ways to increase productivity, improve processes and mitigate risks by giving them access to Merck’s team of experts and state-of-the art facilities,” the company said in a statement.

Ten scientists and engineers from Merck will offer support for companies at the center. It will also provide a simulated manufacturing environment and courses on bioprocessing.

There are currently nine such centers operating across the world in Brazil, France, Japan and Singapore. Korea was selected as the location for Merck’s newest center because it is the company’s third-largest business partner out of 66 countries and is investing in biotechnology as a future growth engine.

“With a rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry in Korea and demand for novel and cost-effective therapies worldwide, there is a clear need for innovative concepts like our M Lab Collaboration Center,” said Udit Batra, a member of the Merck executive board and CEO of the company’s life sciences business.

Customers of the center include local biopharmaceutical manufacturers from multinational players like Samsung Biologics to emerging companies developing treatments for rare diseases. Other disclosed local partners of Merck include Celltrion and Green Cross.

“Merck’s decision to invest in Songdo, which is quickly becoming the world’s largest biologics manufacturing hub with 520 kiloliters of plant capacity by 2018, represents a significant milestone in the development of the Songdo Bio Cluster,” said Kim Tae-han, CEO of Samsung BioLogics. “It will accelerate the future growth of Incheon as well as Korea’s biopharmaceutical industry.”

Founded in 1668, Merck boasts a long history as a pharmaceutical and chemical company. Life science is one of its three business pillars along with health care and performance materials, accounting for 37 percent of its sales.

Merck Korea’s pharmaceutical operation began in 1999.

The new center replaces a smaller research center it has been operating in Pangyo, Gyeonggi, since October 2013. Merck invested more than 6 million euros ($6.7 million) to integrate the center with the M Lab Collaboration Center.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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